More than a muscle part four (the end).

Thanks for all your encouragement and especially your patience to read through these long posts. this series on the heart was a real blessing to me. I hope you have been encouraged as well. God Bless.

The Heart Needs Prostrating

Over and over again, we are told in Scripture to worship God with all the heart. This stresses the need of total involvement with God, an involvement that includes the mind, emotions, and the will. So, note the following passages of Scripture: With all our heart we are to:

  • Love God (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30).

  • Search for God (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13).

  • Return to the Lord (Joel 2:12).

  • Rejoice and exult in the Lord (Zeph. 3:14).

  • Give thanks. This means learning to live by praise and thanksgiving with one’s focus purely on the Lord (Ps. 9:1; 86:12; 119:7; cf. Rom. 1:21).

  • Believe God and His Word (Acts 8:37).

The Heart Needs Pouring

Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

We need to go to the Lord in prayer in order to pour out our hearts and burdens to the Lord. The command here is based on the promise that He cares and wants to hear from us.

The Heart Needs Centering

Proverbs 4:21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

God is never to be just a side issue. In this passage, the word “midst” is the Hebrew tawek which means “the middle, the center.” We need to keep God’s truth on center stage in our hearts. When the Word of God is not central to life, God will also get pushed aside by other cares, desires, and issues. We become like ships without a harbor, or an anchor, or rudder only to be pushed about by the varying winds and storms of life.

We need God’s truth center stage because of the importance of His truth to our relationship with God, our ambitions, our values and pursuits. When God is not center stage, we ignore Him and His purposes, principles, and promises (cf. Isa. 40:9; Heb. 2:9; 12:1-2). In fact, people often try to sanctify their self-centeredness into a kind of self-centered godliness. Concerning this problem, J. I. Packer writes:

Modern Christians tend to make satisfaction their religion. We show much more concern for self-fulfillment than for pleasing our God. Typical of Christianity today, at any rate in the English-speaking world, is its massive rash of how-to-books for believers, directing us to more successful relationships, more joy in sex, becoming more of a person, realizing our possibilities, getting more excitement each day, reducing our weight, improving our diet, managing our money, licking our families into happier shape, and whatnot. For people whose prime passion is to glorify God, these are doubtless legitimate concerns; but the how-to-books regularly explore them in a self-absorbed way that treats our enjoyment of life rather than the glory of God as the center of interest.

The Heart Needs Exposing and Convicting

Proverbs 5:12 And you say, “How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof!”

John 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;

Jude 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith,

Titus 2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Ephesians 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

One of the purposes for centering our hearts on the Word is that of reproof.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Also, one of the purposes for testing the heart with trials is to bring about conviction with repentance that will lead to confession and changed living.

Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

The Heart Needs Cheering, Encouraging, Comforting

Proverbs 15:13,15 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. … All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me …

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Life is full of pain and disappointments which bring sorrow and discouragement, so the heart needs to be cheered, comforted, and encouraged. But our tendency is to seek to cheer and comfort our hearts with the methods of the world—through our strategies for happiness, through the details of life as with the pursuit of power, pleasure, possessions, position, and the like. God has given us all things to enjoy, but God’s plan for lasting joy and encouragement comes from a heart that has been prepared and fixed to trust the Lord (Jn. 16:27; Ps. 37:4).

The Heart Needs Strengthening

Psalm 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.

Psalm 119:11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.

Psalm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.

(1) The absolutes of God’s Word provide a sure FOUNDATION that promotes right thinking and attitudes, direction and choices, values, priorities, and pursuits, etc. (Matt. 6:21f).

(2) Strength of heart comes through humility of heart. A humble person is one who walks in dependence on the Lord rather than in proud self-trust (Ps. 10:17; 31:23-24).

(3) Strength of heart comes through waiting on the Lord and trusting God for needs. What exactly does the Bible mean when it calls us to wait on the Lord? In essence, from the use of this challenge in Scripture, to wait on the Lord is a summary term for living by faith or living dependently on the Lord as explained for us in the Word. On the one hand, it calls us to throw ourselves on the Lord in childlike trust. On the other hand, it calls us to turn away from all forms of independent living whereby we seek to handle life by our methods and means.

In the Bible, waiting on the Lord stands opposed to running ahead and taking matters into our own hands by turning to our own human solutions. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!” (RSV).

(4) Strength of heart comes through making God our portion. This means God is the reward or greatest possession and companion of the heart (Ps. 73:26; 119:56-57). “Portion” in Ps. 119:57 is the Hebrew cheleq. It was used of a reward or profit, but also of a chosen portion as a habitual mode of life. As a contrast, compare Psalm 50:18b, “and you associate with adulterers.” The NIV reads, “you throw in your lot with adulterers (i.e., you have chosen this as your portion, your way of life, the companionship of adulterers).”

The Heart Needs Biblical Desires and Longings

One of the most fundamental and life changing needs of the heart is to have biblical desires and longings. Please note the emphasis in the following passages:

(1) Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart

Though this passage is filled with commands, we can summarize it into four key responsibilities:

  • Look up: get your eyes off of people and circumstances and trust the Lord. Do not fret, do not be envious, but trust, delight, commit.

  • Look ahead: Rest and wait on the Lord and what He is doing. Know that the way of life of evil doers is only temporal and unstable or insecure. God will bring forth your righteousness, you will one day dwell in the land, you will have eternal rewards.

  • Be productive: While resting in God’s provision for our needs and committing our way and our circumstances to the Lord, ever delighting in Him, we are to do good, cultivate faithfulness, and dwell in the land.

  • Be content: Compare Ps. 37:16f. with 1 Tim. 6:6f.

At the core or heart of all this is verse 4 and the words, “delight yourself in the Lord.” This is the basis of trust, commitment, and rest in the Lord.

First, the Command. “Delight” is anag which means (1) “to be soft, delicate, dainty.” In Arabic, a sister language, it meant “to allure” and “to entice” and was used of the amorous gestures of women in their looks and walk. There is a certain feminine quality to this word and it fits with the nature of God’s dealings with believers. Israel was the wife of the Lord and the church is the bride of Christ. As it was with Israel, so we are to respond to the Lord as His chaste bride and to be sensitive to His love and care. Knowing Him as such should build our trust and commitment and keep us from being lured away from Him. In the Hebrew text, the verb “delight” is in a reflexive stem which came to mean, “to take exquisite delight, to delight yourself in an exquisite manner.” So the Psalmist says in effect that God is to be our most exquisite source of joy. We are to delight in His person and being. He is calling us to pursue God that we might know and revel in His divine person and being.

Second, the Promise. “Desires” is the Hebrew mishalab which may mean, “prayers, requests, petitions.” Our requests are usually based on our desires, wants, or what we see as our needs, though this is not one of the major Hebrew words for desire. “Of your heart” points us to the source of the requests, our inner person through the function of the mind, emotions, and will. “Desires of your heart” refers to the results of the function of the mind, emotions, and will in the formation of aspirations, desires, and longings.

When our delight is genuinely in the Lord, our requests, the product of our desires, will be transformed and conformed to the will of God. When we start truly delighting in the Lord and trust in Him for our needs and desires, we will then stop depending on our own devices for security or significance. It is then that our desires and requests will naturally begin to change.

Therefore, God promises to give us those requests, as the context suggest, according to His timing.

(2) Psalm 94:19: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.”

Anxious thoughts multiply when a man’s delight is off the Lord. When this occurs, his trust will also be off the Lord and on his own devices and solutions to life. So what does the Psalmist say? “Thy consolations delight my soul.” What is God’s greatest consolation or source of comfort? It is God Himself. When Christians fail to delight their heart in the Lord by seeking Him as their number one source of comfort, they will begin to unravel and they will turn to their own devices.

Note also the emphasis of the following passages:

Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God.

Psalm 62:10 Do not trust in oppression, And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

Psalm 73:25-28 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. 28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.

Such Psalms do not just express the desire of a highly spiritual man, but they acknowledge man’s need as a human being created with a vacuum that only God can fill. They acknowledge the fact that nothing else can truly satisfy.

Finally, compare Psalm 86:11 with Matthew 6:21-24. The greatest indication of man’s fallenness is his capacity to try to handle life, or to seek satisfaction, significance, and security apart from clinging to the Lord.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name.

Matthew 6:21-24 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Even at his best, such a person is guilty of a divided heart trying to walk with one foot stationed on the Lord and the other one stationed on his own solutions. So what does the Psalmist say? “Unite (remove any division of trust) my heart to fear Thy name.” To fear the Lord is ultimately to trust the Lord or to turn to Him in complete trust (Ps. 40:3; 115:11).

Problems of the Heart

(1) A wrong focus or thought pattern.

  • In Psalm 19:14 the Psalmist prayed for a right focus and thought pattern. He recognized the danger of a wrong focus or center.

  • The heart, when dominated by the sinful nature and man’s viewpoint, gathers wickedness to itself like impure imaginations, slander, false beliefs, false aspirations and solutions, impure desires, and deceit, etc. (Psalm 41:6).

  • Because the heart is the wellspring of life, and because the heart is incurably wicked, unrighteousness begins in the heart (cf. Ps. 36:1; 58:2; Matt. 15:18-19). Remember, the flaming missiles of the evil one, as with Eve, are aimed at the heart (the mind, emotions, and will) (Eph. 6:16).

(2) An unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:12). An unbelieving heart is what causes us to pursue our own solutions to life. This is what happened to Eve.

(3) Fear and anxiety (Isa. 35:4; 51:7). Fear or anxiety is removed through a believing heart or trust in God’s plan and supply regardless of the problems or how things look from our perspective (Ps. 112:7; 13:5; 27:3).

(4) Agitation, frustration of heart. The absence of peace because the heart is not truly centered on the Lord (Ps. 38:8-10).

(5) Fainting, depression, losing heart. The absence of endurance (Ps. 40:12; Lk. 18:1).

(6) Turning away from the Lord. Turning away into sin, unfaithfulness, backsliding (Deut. 17:17; Ps. 44:18; Pro. 7:25; Heb. 3:12).

(7) Trusting in the wrong sources of hope as human strategies for security, significance, or happiness (Ps. 62:10; cf. 64:6 with vs. 10; 73:25f. Also cf. Ps. 81:12, “to walk in their own devices”).

(8) Loneliness and brokenness of heart (Ps. 69:20; Pro. 15:13; 17:22).

(9) Bitterness of heart (Ps. 73:21; Pro. 14:10; Ja. 3:14).

(10) Stubbornness of heart (Ex. 7:14; Ps. 78:8; 81:12; Jer. 3:17).

(11) Divided heart, the opposite of singleness of devotion (2 Chr. 25:2; Ps. 86:11; Matt. 6:21-24; Ja. 1:6-8).

(12) Arrogance or pride of heart, the opposite of a humble heart (2 Chr. 32:26; Isa. 9:9; Ps. 101:5).

(13) False values of the heart (Matt. 6:21; Phil. 3:8).

(14) Hardness of heart (Pr. 28:14; Heb. 3:7-13).

Is it any wonder then, that Solomon challenges us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

As emphasized previously, the heart is where our character is formed and maintained, the place that determines who we are, and what we do. As Scripture warns us, issues of life flow from the heart. It alone holds the secrets of true success or meaning in life. If our heart is filled with what is good, our actions and words will follow. If it is filled with what is evil, so will be our actions and words.

So then, the treasures of our hearts are priceless, but as stressed, they can be stolen. We face three thieves, the world, the flesh, and the devil, and these three stalk us always seeking ways to steal the good treasures of the heart and to replace them with what is evil and worthless, or at least, with those that are not the best.

How well am I guarding my heart? Is the condition of my heart my greatest concern? It should be because it is so determinative of every aspect of life. It ultimately determines my love for God and for others. It determines who I am and what I do.

Conclusion

As we have seen, God is terribly concerned about our hearts. But the thing that makes this even more difficult is the fact, as Jeremiah 17:9 warns us, the heart is deceitful above all things and incurably evil. Part of the deceitfulness comes from the self-protective nature of the heart and its commitment to trust in its own solutions. We would rather trust ourselves than someone else, even God.

Because of this, even our worship of God is suspect and needs to be cleansed or purified of selfish pursuits. Remember, God warns us in His Word that we can be very religious while we withhold our hearts from true faith and worship of the Lord (Isa. 29:23).

Since most people spend an enormous amount of time working, their time in church must be only a fraction of their involvement with God. As a result, unless we are challenged and equipped to live all of life for God from a heart fixed and prepared to trust in Him in the daily routine of life, Christianity degenerates into mere external religiosity in which people play church.

Unless we really deal with our hearts, our religious striving or our worship of God becomes egocentric. And though this can be purified and brought into the service of God through the Word, too often true religion is corrupted and nullified by cravings and striving for self-centered concerns like power, comfort, and security. The Word of God is more than a handbook of doctrine and a set of prescriptions for proper living that we can apply to make life work out the way we want. It is a God-breathed book designed to involve us passionately with the living God so that we trust Him even when life doesn’t seem to make sense. All we can do is trust God that He is in charge and a good and eternal plan continues fully in place.

What we often try to do is develop “trust in God by understanding why things happen and how to organize our lives to rule out severe misfortune. If we understood the whys and hows of life, of course, there would be no need for trust. A predictable world would require nothing other than conformity to its principles.”

Christianity and the promises of the Bible are matters of trust, and trust is a matter of the heart

Like the old song goes; “Trust and obey, For there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Ronne and Tim, they knew their daughter was devoted to being a missionary to Africa. So, they will travel to Africa to bury her there.

Dead or Alive

August 31, 2018

  “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Gal. 3:10).

  None can be born again by the law, and none can live anew under the law—neither its precepts, nor its principle. “The life I now live by faith—by adherence to and reliance on and (complete) trust—in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20, Amp.).

Every believer is regarded by God as alive from the dead, to bring forth fruit (not works) unto God. The law only deals with a man as long as he lives, never after he is dead. ‘Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ’ (Rom. 7:4).

And that is not at all what is said of us, after a ‘second blessing,’ or any other step of imaginary perfection. We begin with. . . ‘alive in Christ.’ I am identified with the Lord Jesus dead and risen. It is no longer the law dealing with me to try if it can get any good out of me. I have relinquished all by receiving Christ, and I take my stand in Him dead and risen again, as one alive from the dead, to yield myself as a ‘new creation’ to God and walk in ‘newness of life.’

The teachings of grace are perfect and sufficient in themselves. They provide for the instruction of the believer in every situation which may arise. There is no need that they be supplemented, or augmented, by the addition of precepts from either the Law of Moses or the teachings of the kingdom.

What an indignity religion puts on every Person of the Godhead alike, on the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, when it drags souls back to the dread distance of Judaism or legalism or the “second blessing” crowd.

  “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21).

So in order to be alive in Christ, I have to die with Christ, buried with Him, but resurrected in Him. Alive to the Spirit and dead to the law, bringing forth good fruit by The Spirit and not works by my flesh.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember all those this month that have been on our prayer list. So many names, so many needs. Thank God we serve an awesome, powerful  and loving Lord.

the reward

August 26, 2018

balance

Who deserves it, or does it even matter

I was talking to a seminary professor the other day and he told me that over the Christmas break he had taken a walking tour of Scotland to enjoy hiking and especially to visit some very old churches that have stood for hundreds of years.

At one of these churches it was Sunday and it was the last Sunday for this pastor who was retiring at 94 years of age and had spent 50 years as the pastor of this tiny church, hidden in rugged terrain that people had to walked to.

He said the pastor’s sermon was a homiletic master piece, it was deep, moving and a gem. He wondered how the Lord could keep such a master of preaching hidden like a rare gem from the world and how blessed this congregation was to have been guided by such a great shepherd.

He said that as he flew back to America a question began to form in his mind over who would be the most blessed, the pastor of a small struggling flock, that rarely had money, never knew fame, no books no tv shows, but a faithful pastor; or the mega pastor that touched millions and was there a difference in the eyes of God. Would the reward be different?

I asked him if had reached a conclusion and he said he had (with the foreknowledge that he was not God and this was just his humble opinion). He said that had; he believed that the faithful pastor to a small flock, faithful to the word and the work would receive a larger, better reward, because of the struggle and fight just to keep the doors open and no open earthly reward now.

Ok, it’s just one man’s opinion but I agree with him.

And the reason I’m bringing it up is I have a very good friend who is in that same exact position. 35 years at the same church, highly educated, gifted as a speaker, and faithful to the word and the craft of preaching good honest sermons with no baloney or filler at all.

And this month he will receive no salary because the church can’t afford to pay him for an entire month. He doesn’t know that I know this and what I want from all of you is to pray for him because I’ve never seen him so discouraged before.

So please keep this servant of God in prayer that like the children of God in the wilderness that he and his family will be divinely kept, that rust, and moth and corruption will not find root in any part of his life, that the car won’t break down, and no one will get sick and things will just work out; and if just one new face could show up on Sunday.

Because he has been faithful to God, and to the word.

This ain’t a chain letter so if you don’t pray nothing bad will happen to you (ha)

God bless and peace out.

Pray for Paul K, this faithful pastor. Storms have hit his family and the struggle he’s in right now if perhaps one of the toughest places he’s ever been in.

Pray for Paul C, this is the lost lamb, pray he wonders back into the fold, because this particular shepherd can’t find him.

Pray for David P, alcoholism, which he thought was a thing of the past has got him again.

Pray for Don L, close friend, pray for strength, guidance and the knowledge he is never forgotten.

a life for a life

August 25, 2018

  That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11, ASV.).

  The love motive is not adequate to carry the believer through to fruitful walk and service. Few seem to be able to face up to this fact, possibly because they see no higher alternative. But there is one: the life motive. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

  “By the body of Christ on the Cross, believers were made dead to the law (Rom. 7:4), in order righteously to be joined to Another. The reason why we had to die to the law was, not at all because the law was bad (it, on the contrary, is ‘holy, just and good’), but because we were bad. (my apologies to Joel Osteen, yes we were bad, very bad)(that’s sarcasm by the way).

  “Our flesh was so powerless to do good and so ready to do evil, that the application to us of God’s holy law only gave sin an occasion to involve our enslaved members in open rebellion against the law.

So that even if a man loves God’s law, as Paul did, he has no power to keep it; but sin only makes the law a constant means of working death to him, and the more a man tries to keep the law the more he comes under the power of sin. Hence there is only this left for us—to die to the law, and be joined to the risen Lord Jesus in a resurrection life absolutely beyond the sphere of the law.

The law is for the man who departed from God—that man has been removed from God’s sight in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I rejoice that now by the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ I am ‘free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2).”

  “Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16).

By death, He gives us Life, now and eternally. Praise God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Wow, our prayer is way long, top three,

April, after 20 years getting a divorce, she should have done it 19 years ago.

Makala, 15, April’s daughter, pray she comes for counseling.

And LaHoma, our lady from yesterday. God’s will be done in her life. I’m praying God takes her home. I believe she is still a child in God’s eyes.

drowning?

August 14, 2018

Have you ever saved some one from drowning? Or have you ever taken a course on being a life guard? One of the first things they teach you is that you must get the drowning person to stop struggling. Second they teach you that you might have to get a little physical so the drowning person doesn’t drown you as well.

So this devotion isn’t about drowning it’s about why we need to cease struggling with God. This isn’t the same as wrestling with God, this is about the all to frequent struggle that believers have with God.

It’s frequently expressed through the thoughts like; “does God really love me?” “Am I really saved?”

Let’s look at some scripture that if you are struggling, hopefully you will find solace in the following scripture, these are some of the verses that are what I call “foundation verses” meaning you will build a solid Christian life if these are memorized or marked in your bible as ‘emergency verses.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” ( Eph. 1:5 , 6 ).

See it was a pleasure for God to adopt us, and we are accepted.

The problem that I see in most struggling Christians is that because they are conscious of sin, they think they must do something more to please God, and the devil traps them in a snare of repetitive getting saved, going down to altar again, some good works, praying through. The fact is we must stand on the work that Christ has done and not try to add anything to our salvation of our own initiative.

Please read Romans 5:1-11 to get a great view of what has been done for us. This is another foundation set of verses that we should ‘get to know’ in order to not be persuaded by those well-meaning but seriously wrong Christians that tell you the problem is you’re not doing enough good works, or you are not enjoying the fruits of the spirit. The best thing you can say to all these well-meaning advisors supposedly sent from God to help you is ‘NUTS.’ (or swear at them; pick one its really multiple choice)

In order for our souls to find rest and have peace we must always understand that as long as we live on earth in these very carnal bodies, we will wrestle with failure and feel like we have failed God. The Holy Spirit shows us what we really are, not to make us feel condemnation, but to remind us that every day I need a Savior, that every day I awake I must accept the fact that today is a good day to die. That is what dying to self is about.

I am washed, cleansed redeemed accepted, loved and can be totally at peace with God even though I know I still sin and have my battles and failures.

Yet we are loved, with the greatest unfailing love from God.

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

I WANT YOUR MIND

August 11, 2018

IT’S A LONG DEVOTION SO YOU MAY WANT TO PRINT IT OUT.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1–4).

How can we develop a heavenly mindset?

Some have said it is possible to be “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” However, when you look at the history of the church, it was those who were the most heavenly minded who did the most good. Listen to what Christ said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt. 11:12).

The people who forcefully grabbed hold of the kingdom of heaven are the ones advancing it. Though on the earth, they had a heavenly mindset. Having a heavenly mindset is very important for advancing the kingdom, not only in our lives but on this earth as well.

It is for this reason that Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind with doubts, fears, worldly thoughts, etc. Satan wants to keep believers from focusing on what really matters, and that is God and his kingdom.

This is what Paul is primarily referring to when he says to the Colossians, “set your hearts on things above.” He is primarily referring to God and his kingdom. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to be consumed with God’s name being hallowed, and his kingdom and his will being done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9–10). The believer’s mind should be consumed with heavenly things.

In Scripture, those who practice right thinking receive tremendous blessings. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” It also can be translated, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you” (ESV).

The person whose thoughts are consumed with God and his kingdom will have perfect peace instead of anxiety and worry. When we find ourselves anxious or worried, we can be sure that we have lost a God–centered mindset.

What are some other benefits of God–centered thinking? Listen to Philippians 4:8–9:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Paul says thinking on right things and practicing them brings the God of peace—the very presence of God in our lives (v. 9). Many are missing the manifest presence of God in their lives because they have ungodly thinking, which eventually leads to ungodly practice.

In fact, Paul says that the way a person thinks is an indicator both of his salvation and his fruitfulness. Listen to what he says:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:5–6).

The secular person thinks only about the “desires” of his carnal nature. The carnal person may be spiritual, but he only wants things of the spirit that satisfy or glorify him:

“God, give me an ‘A’ on this test.”

“God, get me into grad school.”

“God, give me this promotion.”

“God, take away this sickness.”

A carnal person may believe in God and pray for things, but God is only a means to his “desires.” James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

However, a truly born-again person desires what the Spirit of God desires. He ultimately wants God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This doesn’t mean that we don’t pray for our desires; it means we are not consumed with our desires. The desires of the redeemed should be and must become that of the Spirit of God.

Paul says the one who continually thinks on the desires of their sinful nature will bring the fruits of death and destruction, but the one consumed with the things of the Spirit brings the fruits of life and peace (Rom. 8:6).

The mind is very important. What does your mind say about you? It will tell you who you are—a believer or an unbeliever—a person led by the sinful nature or a person led by the Spirit. It will also tell you what type of fruits you will produce. A person that thinks on the things of God receives life and peace.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is calling these believers, who are tempted like all of us to think on carnal things, to set their heart and mind on things above. He says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above.”

Again, when he says “above,” he really means God and his kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:9–10). How do we develop a heavenly mindset, a mind consumed with the things of God? We will learn principles about developing a heavenly mindset in this text.

Big Question: How do we develop a heavenly mindset consumed with the things of God according to this text?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Resurrected Position

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

Interpretation Question: What does Paul mean by the believer being raised with Christ, and why is it an encouragement to think on things above?

Paul says believers can develop a heavenly mindset by understanding their resurrected position in Christ. When Christ died, we died with him, and when he resurrected and went to heaven, we went with him. Listen to how Paul talks about this in Ephesians: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

When Paul says, “seated us with him in the heavenly realms,” he is primarily referring to “authority” and “rulership.” Listen to how Paul uses a similar phrase in relationship to Christ in Ephesians 1:19–22:

And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.

Paul, in talking about the power that is in believers and was at work in Christ in the resurrection, says this power seated Christ in heavenly realms far above all authority, power, and dominion. God placed all things under his feet.

Therefore, when Paul says the Ephesians have been seated with Christ by this great power, he wants them to see their authority and position in Christ. They are rulers with Christ over all things. Now at this present time, not everything in heaven and on the earth submits to Christ in the way it is supposed to, but one day it will at his coming. First Corinthians 15:24–26 says,

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

At Christ’s second coming he will bring all things into full submission to his will. All will bow and call him Lord (Phil. 2:10–11). All things will be put under his feet.

The incredulous thing about Christ’s rule is that we will rule with him. Romans 8:17 says we are “co–heirs with Christ.” Everything that is his is ours. In John 17:22, Christ said in his high priestly prayer that he has given us his glory.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is telling us that we must think about our resurrected position with Christ. Again he says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

Paul says our thinking should reflect our resurrection in Christ, the one who is seated at the right hand of God and will rule all things. In fact, Paul uses this same argument at Corinth where the believers were arguing and suing one another. Look at what he says:

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! (1 Cor. 6:2–4).

He rebukes them for arguing and then bringing their church disputes before the world in civil cases. He essentially says, “Don’t you know your resurrected position? Don’t you know you will judge the world and angels?” God has given judgment over to the Son (John 5:22), and because we are seated with him, we will judge the world and angels in his coming kingdom. Paul says, “Because of this reality, shouldn’t you be able to judge these small disputes in the church?”

Now, none of these Christians were probably thinking about their future rule with Christ while they were disputing with one another. They were concerned about what they had lost and how they had been cheated. However, Paul essentially says that they should be thinking about their position in Christ. One day they would judge the world and angels. Paul taught that having a heavenly mind should have affected how they handled their disputes in the church.

If we are going to have a heavenly mind, we must first start with understanding our position in Christ. We have been raised with Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. Everything that is the Son’s is ours. As mentioned before, this seating reflects our unity with Christ and the authority that comes with it. And this reality should affect how we think and live. Consider what Jesus told his disciples:

Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt. 28:18–19).

When Christ told them to go and make disciples, he told them to do this based on his authority, which he had essentially given them. The disciples worked on behalf of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. Paul, in fact, calls himself an ambassador of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:20. He says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

An ambassador goes somewhere with the message and the authority of the person he represents. Paul is not only saying that he had the message of God, but also the authority of God in saying it.

Many Christians are scared to evangelize, scared to share their faith, scared to counsel, scared to serve God, etc. If they just understood their position and their authority, it would drastically affect their ministry. When Paul cast out the demon in Acts 16, he didn’t act on his authority, but on the authority of Christ whom he was seated in.

She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her (Acts 16:18).

Did Paul have special authority in himself? No, this authority came from whom he represented, whom he was seated in. He told the demon to leave “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Paul was an ambassador walking in the authority of Christ. If we are going to have the right mindset, we must focus on our resurrected position. We are different from the rest of the world because of our position in the heavenly realms, and we must live like it.

What else is needed to develop a heavenly mindset?

Application Question: What other applications can we take from the importance of knowing our resurrected position in Christ?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Life Of Continual Discipline

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (Col. 3:1).

The word “set” is an active word. It can also be translated as “seek.” The KJV says, “Seek those things above.” This does not happen by accident; it only happens through rigorous discipline. If you are not actively seeking things above, then you won’t be thinking in a heavenly manner. This is what Paul said in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

When he says, “Do not conform any longer,” it implies that the members of the Roman church were already being conformed. It has the sense of stop conforming, or stop being pressed and molded into the pattern of this world. If you are not seeking things above, you are already being pressed and molded to look and think like the rest of the world.

You will be molded in how you view yourself:

“I must have this body.”

“I must have this type of skin.”

“I must dress like this.”

“I must have this degree, and this type of job.”

The world will control how you think, how you dress, what type of job you seek, and the type of school you go to. Christ said, “You cannot have two masters, you will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24).

Most Christians have the world as their master. It tells them what to do, where to go, and how to do it. Christians must understand that they are no longer part of this world, and they must actively “seek” to think the way God has called them to think. They must seek things above.

How do we practice and develop this discipline of thinking on things above?

Application Question: How can we actively seek those things above as a discipline?

This discipline is developed in several ways.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Impressing Scripture Upon His Heart.

It is through Scripture that we renew our minds and start to think on things that are noble, good, and righteous—we start to think more like God. How do we impress Scripture upon our hearts? Listen to what Moses said to Israel:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deut. 6:6–9).

He gives them several ways to put God’s Word on their hearts.

They were to teach the Word of God to their children.

If you are going to think on heavenly things, you must be a teacher. You must teach it to your friends; teach it in small groups; teach it to strangers. When you have to teach something, you can’t help but think upon it all the time.

Some may say, “I am a baby Christian. How can I teach?” Find somebody you know more than and share with that person, even if it’s an unbeliever. That’s what the parents were doing when they taught their children. They taught somebody they knew more than. We should do the same. Every Christian is called to be a teacher, and one can’t set his heart upon things above without doing this.

They were to talk about the Word of God everywhere: at home, when walking, when lying down, when getting up.

This didn’t mean that they were to only have theological conversations. This meant that they needed to view everything from the mindset of God and what God thought about things. Christians should automatically think about what Scripture says when they see movies, watch the news, or are asked a simple question. And yes, you will be considered narrow when you do this, but this is the type of mind that pleases God—a mind that is set on God’s Word.

They were to develop reminders to help them memorize it; they were to tie it on their hands, foreheads, door frames, and gates.

Certainly this may be done very literally as Israel did, with memory flash cards, pictures, and paintings, but, even more so, you should set up places and times in your daily life where you will always encounter the Word of God. This includes things like daily meditation, small groups, or accountability meetings. Every morning you are going to encounter the Word of God here. Every Tuesday you are going to encounter the Word of God there. Every Friday you are going to encounter the Word of God when you meet with brother or sister so-and-so.

By tying it on their hands, head, and doors, they constantly saw the Word of God. This is important because if we don’t do this, we may sometimes go a week and realize, “I haven’t read the Word of God.”

This is a lot of work. But in order to “set,” to have a mind that is immovable from the things of God, it takes discipline. Many Christians know nothing of a mind that has “set the Lord before them at all times and they will not be shaken” (Ps. 16:8). Many Christians are shaken by every little event. A mind that is “set” happens only by rigorous acts of discipline, and we must seek to develop this through study of the Word of God.

How else do we discipline our mind?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Rejecting Everything That Is Not From God.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2).

Paul said we should not only seek things above but also turn away from earthly things. In order to think heavenly thoughts, we must get rid of or keep away from things that would draw us away from God. We are called to get rid of anxieties. Scripture says, “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). We are called to get rid of lust, anger, envy, jealousy, and anything else that is not of God (cf. Col. 3:5–9).

Practically, this may mean not watching certain TV shows, reading certain magazines or books, listening to certain music, or hanging around certain people, especially when we find they contribute to drawing us away from God and godly thoughts. We must zealously protect our minds. Paul said,

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4–5).

We must take captive every thought and bring it into submission to Christ. Make no mistake here, brethren. Our thoughts are not neutral, innocent, or harmless. Our minds are either lorded by Christ or someone or something else. Is Christ Lord of your thoughts?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Developing A Consistent Prayer Life.

“Be joyful always; pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:16–17).

It is through the discipline of prayer that we develop a heavenly mindset. We must learn how to pray at all times, bringing every thought before our Father.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Fostering Healthy Fellowship.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20).

Again, our thinking is often affected by our friends. The fool in Scripture is a person who says there is no God or does not live for God (cf. Ps. 14:1). Therefore, the wise are people who fear and honor God (Prov. 9:10). We must develop friendships with wise, godly believers who help us seek spiritual things.

Application Question: What type of thoughts do you have to commonly reject to keep a heavenly mindset? How is God calling you to practice these disciplines to develop a heavenly mindset?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Crucified Position

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Interpretation Question: In what way have believers died, and how should this affect our thinking?

Paul says we died with Christ and our life is now hidden in Christ. For many, instead of thinking on the things of God, they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death with Christ. But, we must ask the questions, “What exactly did we die to?” and “How did we die?”

  1. The Believer Died To Sin.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin (Rom. 6:5–7).

On the cross, our old nature was crucified with Christ. It was crucified so that we could be freed from sin. We must understand this doctrine to walk in victory over lust, anger, depression, and any other sin that tries to control us. Paul says this should be our response to our death to sin: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).

He says to “count” or think about yourself differently. You are dead to sin but alive to God. This means that I can break habitual strongholds of sin. It means that I can start over when I fail because Christ paid the penalty for my sins and broke the power of it.

For many, instead of thinking on the things of God they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death to sin. We died with Christ.

  1. The Believer Died To Self.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26–27).

Christ says to follow him as a disciple, we must hate our life and take up our cross. This is a daily discipline. We die to ourselves, our desires, and our wants in order to submit to Christ. We get a good picture of this with Christ before going to the cross. He says, “Take this cup from me but nevertheless, your will be done” (Luke 22:42). He submitted his will to that of the Father and so must we.

Listen to Paul’s testimony of this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

For many people, they can’t have a heavenly mind because they are consumed with self instead of God. In order to develop a heavenly mindset, we must continually crucify ourselves—we must daily reckon ourselves dead to self and alive to God.

  1. The Believer Died To This World.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Paul said his death on the cross with Christ also brought death to this world. He essentially said, “I am dead to the world and the things of the world. They no longer satisfy me. They no longer are my passions in life. My passion is to honor and to know Christ. I am alive to God and dead to the world.”

John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The very reason many cannot think on things above is because of worldliness. They are consumed with the things of this world: gaining them, enjoying them, and keeping them. If we are going to think on heavenly things, we must continually reckon ourselves dead to the things of this world so we can seek the things above.

  1. The Believer Died To The Power Of The Devil.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:1–5).

In a very real sense, we died to Satan as well. Before salvation, Scripture says that we were children of the devil (1 John 3:10) and were following his ways (Eph. 2:2). But now, as believers, we have become children of God and followers of his Word. We are dead to the devil and alive to God.

Satan, who works through sin, the flesh, and the world to tempt us, has no dominion over us anymore because we died to him. We should no longer submit to him or live in fear of him because he was defeated by Christ (cf. Col. 2:15).

However, it must be known that a person is a slave to whomever he submits to. We can still submit to sin, self, the world, and the devil. Paul said,

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).

Therefore, as an act of the will, we must reject sin, selfishness, the world, and the devil to develop a heavenly mindset. We died with Christ and now are hidden in him.

What does this crucified life look like?

The crucified life says, “Life is not about me. My life is not bound any longer to sin or my desires. Life is not about the things of the world. It is about Christ.” Paul said, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). If we don’t understand the crucified life, then we will be consumed with the things of this world. We will find ourselves feverishly running after every fad that comes out. If we don’t understand the crucified life, we will become enslaved to our wants and desires and other things we were delivered from.

It has been said that, “Dead men don’t get offended.” This means that a person who is living a crucified life is not consumed with fighting for his rights every time somebody hurts him. Like Christ, a person who has reckoned his death has become the meek who will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5). He recognizes that this world and his life is not his anymore. He was crucified with Christ.

Application Question: In what ways do you need to apply the crucified life practically?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Hidden Life In Christ

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Another aspect of the crucified life is that we are hidden in Christ. There are many ramifications of this we must daily internalize if we are going to develop a heavenly mindset.

Application Question: What does Paul mean by our lives being hidden in Christ? From whom are we hidden?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Protection; We Are Protected By Him.

Listen to what John says about the experience of a believer:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand (John 10:27–29).

Because of our relationship with Christ, Jesus places us in his hand and the Father’s hand for protection. This speaks of our eternal security and Christ’s constant protection of us. We get a picture of the protected life in Psalm 23. Listen to what David says about God as his shepherd:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Ps. 23:4–5).

David said he had comfort even when confronted by death because the Shepherd protected him with his rod and staff. Even when his enemies surrounded him, he ate in peace. His Shepherd provided food, drink, and oil for healing and refreshment. He never lacked or wanted for anything because his Shepherd met all of his needs (Ps. 23:1).

In order to have peace in a world of constant trials and sometimes persecution, we must understand our hidden life. We must understand the Shepherd who protects us with his staff, feeds us even amidst our enemies, anoints our wounds, and never lets us leave his hand.

This is the hidden life of every true believer regardless of circumstances, and it must be our focus to have peace, especially in the midst of trials. We must know we are hidden in Christ.

What else does the hidden life represent?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Identity; It Means The World Will Not Recognize Us.

To be hidden in Christ is essentially a reflection of how we are dead to the world. The world doesn’t recognize who we truly are in Christ, and they will commonly misunderstand us because our life is hidden in him. They may ask, “How come you are not all about partying, drinking, sex, career, wealth, etc.? Why are you so into church? Why are you so different?” Peter said, “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:4).

The hidden life not only means being protected by Christ, it also means being different and therefore misunderstood by the world. Our life is different and at times these differences may cause persecution. We should not be alarmed at this because our life is in Christ who was similarly mistreated. However, now he is exalted at the right hand of God, and one day our exaltation with him will be manifest to all (cf. Rom. 8:19). A heavenly mindset understands and finds encouragement in the hidden life.

Application Question: In what ways does the hidden life encourage you? How is God calling you to make this more of your focus?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Future In Christ

“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4).

In order to develop a heavenly mindset, the believer must also understand his future in Christ. Whatever you think about the future will affect how you live today. If you are consumed with being a doctor then you will constantly be thinking about your grades, preparing for exams to get into med school, or considering the best college to go to. Your thoughts about the future affect how you live today.

In the same way, this heavenly mindset is developed through constantly thinking on our future in Christ. Paul says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” The believer who truly understands this and focuses on Christ’s second coming and our future glory with him will be consumed with it. Listen to Philippians 3:20–21:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

He says that we eagerly await a Savior from there. Eagerly await “is strong language (in the original) to express the earnest expectation of something believed to be imminent. It means literally to thrust forward the head and neck as in anxious expectation of hearing or seeing something.”1 It means to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. Those who understand the second coming are consumed with it. Developing a focus on the second coming is crucial to a heavenly mindset.

When Paul talks about Christ’s coming, he also mentions our appearance in glory. This glory is probably not just a reflection of heaven but our glory. We will have glorified bodies when Christ comes. Listen to what 1 Corinthians 15:42–44 says about this:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

How should the reality of Christ’s second coming and our appearance with him in glory affect us? John said,

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2–3).

Everyone who has this hope purifies himself. The second coming of Christ and our future glory should make us purify our thoughts, our conversations, and our daily endeavors. It transforms us.

This is probably the reason many Christians do not have a heavenly mindset and do not have holy lives. They have lost (or never had) hope in the second coming of Christ. Listen to how Christ described this unfortunate reality in a parable about a master and his unfaithful servant:

The Lord answered, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, “My master is taking a long time in coming,” and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ (Luke 12:42–48).

The problem with this servant was he lost an expectation of the master’s coming. This encouraged him to cast off restraint as he lived in discord, waste, and blatant sin. This parable is about the fruits we will find in our lives if we lose our expectancy of Christ’s coming. Discord, wasteful living, and blatant sin will mark our lives as well.

For this reason Satan is always after our minds. He realizes that if he can turn them away from heavenly things, he can turn us towards earthly things. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7 NASB). The more earthly we think, the more earthly we become. Our enemy is especially after the believer’s mind as it concerns the future. He will have one think about graduate school, marriage, retirement, and anything else rather than Christ’s return and our future glory with him. Satan understands that anybody who has this hope purifies themselves (cf. 1 John 3:2–3). What you think about the future affects how you live today.

Application Question: How do we keep an unwavering focus on Christ’s coming?

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By The Study Of Eschatology, The Study Of The End Times.

Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Eschatology is very important because God has given it to us to help us prepare for and have an eager expectation of the future. John says that there is a blessing on the one who reads, hears, and takes to heart the words of prophecy in the book of Revelation. Those who study Revelation and the doctrine of the end times have a double blessing. It helps them keep a heavenly a mind, a mind consumed with and prepared for Christ’s coming.

Sadly, the enemy has sown so much disagreement over the end times that many pastors never teach on it. And therefore, the members of the church miss out on the blessing it brings to our lives—they live with no eager expectation. Like the servant who thought his master delayed his coming, we often cast off restraint and become consumed with our earthly life instead of our heavenly one. These doctrines are very important for us to drink deeply from so we can be ready for our Lord’s return. Christ said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By Practicing The Lord’s Supper.

Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper is not only a look back at the cross, but it is also meant to be a look forward. We are looking forward to the coming of our Savior. We should practice this often to keep our hearts ready for our Lord’s appearance.

Application Question: When you think about the future, what do you constantly think about? Do you struggle with staying focused on Christ’s coming, his kingdom, and our glory with him? How is God calling you to develop an eager expectation on these things so you can be more effective for his kingdom?

Conclusion

Paul wants this church to develop a heavenly mindset. It will deliver them from much of the earthly teaching filled with deceptive philosophy that was threatening the church (cf. Col. 2:8).

Developing a heavenly mindset, one that thinks on God and his kingdom, is very important to us as well. “As a man thinks, so he is” (Prov. 23:7, paraphrase). Right thinking leads to having the manifest presence of God in our lives (Phil. 4:8–9). Godly thinking brings peace and life to us and identifies us as true believers (Rom. 8:5–6). More importantly, if we are going to live a godly life it starts with a godly mind (Col. 3:1–5). This is why Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind and thoughts. He wants them to live like the world instead of living like a citizen of heaven waiting for their coming King.

How do we develop a heavenly mindset so we can live the effective Christian life God has called us to?

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our resurrected position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a life of continual discipline.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our crucified position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our hidden life in Christ.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our future in Christ.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCURCH@GMAIL.COM

Sola Scriptura

July 19, 2018

  “That I may know him” (Phil. 3:10).

  “The one unchanging factor on this earth is the Word of God. It is upon the written Word, and in the Living Word, that the Christian life is to be established. Yet there are Christians throughout the world who are seeking to get along on the basis of questionable blessings, and fluctuating self-centered experiences.

 How many rest on the initial step of the new birth, ‘Begotten again. . . of incorruptible seed through the word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23), and fail to press on to know ‘Begotten. . . by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . unto an inheritance’ (1 Peter 1:3).

  “If our hearts are really true to Him we may be assured He will lead us on in the knowledge of Himself just as fast as we are able to advance. He knows how much we can take in, and He does not fail to minister to us the very food that is suitable to our present need. We may sometimes feel inclined to be impatient with ourselves because we do not make more rapid progress, but we have to learn to trust the Lord with our spiritual schooling.

 If our eyes are upon the Lord Jesus, and we follow with steadfast hearts as He leads us, we shall find that He leads us by the right way and brings us through all the exercises we need in order to form our souls in the appreciation of Himself, and of all those blessed things which are brought to pass in Him. We have to trust Him all the way through, and to learn increasingly to distrust ourselves.

The enemy will encourage you to do anything but carry out the systematic, Spirit-taught study of the Bible. He will give religious experiences, feelings and pious thoughts—all apart from God’s Word. Do not be deceived. The Scriptures are our only sustenance—there are no substitutes. Sola scriptura, the Word of God only.

  “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karey, a seeking heart, nearing the vanishing point (salvation). Think about it.

Pray for Thomas L, eye surgery on Friday.

Pray for Jennifer, her diabetes is getting worse. She fears losing her sight.

THE PATH OF PATIENCE

July 16, 2018

  “The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants; and none of them who trust in him shall be desolate” (Ps. 34:22).

  We can only trust our Father to the degree that we know Him. And He only reveals Himself to us by His means. That is by the Word, by the Spirit, and hence by the Son—in that sequence.

Could it be possible that God would so love an individual as to give His only Son to die for him and still love him to the extent of following him with the pleadings and drawings of His grace until He has won that soul into His own family and created him anew by the impartation of His own divine nature, and then be careless as to what becomes of the one He has thus given His all to procure?

A life of patience intervenes between the day of illumination and the day of glorification. I am not to count on a path of pleasure—a path of ease—a path of prosperity—on being more distinguished tomorrow than today; but I am to count on a path of patience. Yes, there is lessons to be learned in order to have companionship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let my circumstances be what they may, if I can see them ordered for me unfailingly by One in whom infinite wisdom, power, and goodness combine, and whose love toward me I am assured of, my restlessness is gone, my will subjected to that other will in which I can but acquiesce and delight..

We are called to fellowship with God, and fellowship means common happiness, common thoughts, common trust. The Father’s delight is in His Son; and we have fellowship with Him in that. The Son’s delight is in the Father, and we have fellowship with Him in that. So our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus, Christ.

  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5, 6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Congrats to Jamal G, our bible give away winner and the answer was 49,897 refugees leaving Babylon in the first return under King Cyrus.

Prayer requests, comments and questions to the email address.

Go towards the light

July 12, 2018

  “Let us go on and get past the elementary stage. . . advancing steadily toward the completeness. . . that belongs to spiritual maturity” (Heb. 6:1, Amp.).

  “So many rest content with the thought that their sins are pardoned, and that they are in the path of life, but know nothing of a personal attachment to the risen Lord Jesus Christ as their life, or of faith that lives in the invisible and walks with the Father.

The profession of faith is not cast away; religious habits are kept up; but there is nothing to show that they have entered or are seeking to enter the Holiest to dwell there.

The power of the world, the spirit of its literature, and temptations of business and pleasure, all unite to make up a religion in which it is sought to combine a comfortable hope for the future with the least possible amount of sacrifice in the present.

 Struggle and effort in themselves will never secure blessing, but by leading to despair and complete self-disgust they serve a divine purpose in the experience of the soul. I do not think God gives anything without preparing us for it by making us feel the need and value of it. It is a divine principle that ‘He satisfieth the longing soul’ (Ps. 107:9).

  “He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger” (Deut. 8:3).

I guess that’s the big question, you have a potential for spiritual growth, if you have a hunger to know more about Jesus. “Just a closer walk with Thee” is more than a song.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Charmaine, trust issues in her marriage

Pray for Roxanne, fighting depression

Pray for Peter G, 3 years today sober

 

THE SECRET OF SUCCESS

July 4, 2018

“Whether, therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God “ (1 Cor. 10:31).

The present and eternal ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son; the past, present, and future ministry of the Son is to glorify the Father. Our life and ministry will bring glory to our Father to the extent that we abide in the Son, and are controlled by the Holy Spirit.

When one’s ministry or outreach flows from close communion with the Father, one’s influence and moral authority will be recognized. Moreover, such a workman is not carried beyond what he has received from the Lord, so that his ministry finds sanction in hearts without any pressure.

The object of all Christian life and ministry, of whatever kind, must surely be to bring glory to God. Any lesser motive is inferior. If this were kept in the forefront of our thinking and praying, it would have two beneficial results. The hectic strain would be taken out of our lives and service, and spontaneous fruitfulness would follow.

We can aim to meet the needs of people as a primary objective, and fret because so many of our efforts prove abortive. We may secretly pride ourselves on our ability to minister, or on our efficient service, and reap nothing but frustration. It is only when our whole outlook is made radiant by His glory, because if we are hungry to do His will and that only, then our activities will be quickened into new life, and others be truly blessed.

“He [Abraham]. . . was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger S, ever since he lost his mom, he been (his words) unbalanced.

Pray Elizetia P. today became a U.S. citizen.

Pray for Susan H, on the forefront of the conservative movement here and in Washington and wants to pass the baton.